On this day 50 years ago, Ham the Chimp blasted off in a Mercury rocket and flew 157 miles in space, just to see if it would be safe to send less hairy apes into orbit.
It was, pretty much.
LIFE magazine has a feature today where you can see rare photos of Ham the Chimp, called “In Praise of Ham the Chimp.”
Go see them.
(Photo from LIFE, by Ralph Crane)